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Full text of "news update, Southeast Conference, United Church of Christ, March 2013"

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From: Tim Downs (tdowns@secucc.org) 

To: michaeltstroud@bellsouth.net; 

Date: Fri, March 29, 2013 2:25:33 PM 

Cc: 

Subject: For everything there is a season! Come to the 2013 Annual Meeting 



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PEATUkEf-'OC 



For Everything There is a Season, and a Time for Every Matter Under Heaven 




47th Annual Meeting 
June 14-15,2013 





We're excited to announce the 2013 Annual Meeting featuring keynote presentation by UCC General 
Minister and President Rev. Geoffrey Black in addition to worship leadership from Rev. Joyce Hollyday, 
Minister Dorinda Broadnax, and Rev. Dr. Dwight Andrews. First Congregational Church in Atlanta is 
graciously hosting the event in their newly renovated sanctuary. In addition to dynamic worship the 
meeting will provide several relevant workshops and panels geared toward enhancing ministry in 



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various contexts. 

We will also gather as Conference to say a hearty farewell to our Conference Minister, Rev. Tim Downs, 
thanking him for his service as he enters retirement. 

The final TAP Banquet and Commencement will take place on Thursday evening, June 13th at 6 pm. 
Rev. Kathy Clark will be guest speaking as we put a capstone on this vibrant ministry as it transitions 
into the PATHWAYS program. 

Registration for the Annual Meeting will be open in the middle of April. Watch for details via email, 
twitter, and our website. 




Kim Shelton, a member of Community Congregational 
UCC, Montgomery, was ordained on March 23rd, at 

Advocate United Church of Christ, Chicago, as an associate 
pastor. 

John Gill, pastor of Church of the Savior UCC, Knoxville, 
received a grant for his sabbatical study, during which 
he will be studying the impact of long term pastorates. 

Chris Lyman-Waldron, pastor of Praxis UCC, Atlanta, has 
been hired as the Director of Communications of the 
Southeast Conference. This is his first newsletter. 

Tom Query, a member of Church of the Savior, Roswell, 
GA, and a pastoral counselor with the Wellspring Counseling 
Center was installed on February 24th in a four way 
covenant in his ministry. 

The following ministers were each approved for transfer of 
ordained ministerial standing to the Southeast Conference: 
Valerie Coe Lowder, Clara Benson, Rick Diekmann, 
and Kristen Barner. Congratulations and welcome! 



Click here to read the details of these joyous celebrations! 



CONFERENCE NEWS 



News from the Conference and Associations 

The Southeast Conference is now on Twitter! 

Follow us @SECUCC for up to the minute announcements of 
what's happening around the Conference. 



CAMPAIGN FOR NEW AND RENEWING CONGREGATIONS TO 
KICK OFF AT GENERAL SYNOD 



LIFTING UP 




Pleasant Hill Community UCC has honored Dr. Richard 
Braun with a Memorial Concert on March 23rd. Dr. Braun, 
who passed away in December, was a medical missionary 
partnering with his wife Trudy in working with the United 
Church Board for World Ministries in Africa. He had a 
wonderful missionary career spanning three decades. Upon 
returning to Cumberland County, Tennessee he loved 
playing flute and participating in the music program at his 
church in Pleasant Hill. To read more about Dr. Braun and 
his life click here. 

We are saddened to receive news of the death of Emmett 
Floyd, who served as the Conference Minister of the 

Southeast Conference from July 1, 1980 until December 
31, 1987 and also served as the Conference Minister of the 
Southern Conference. Remembered fondly as "the admiral", 
prior to serving in conference ministry, Emmett had served 
in the Navy as an admiral as well as serving as a new 
church start pastor as a Southern Baptist minister. In 
retirement, Rev. Floyd was an active interim serving a 
number of churches in times of pastoral transition. He was 
a beloved member of Elon Community UCC and the Eastern 
North Carolina Association. We send condolences to his 
wife, Katherine and family. His obituary can be found here. 



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Leaders of the United Church of Christ have identified the 
development of new congregations as a vital missional and 
fundraising priority for the future of the church. To 
underscore that commitment, a kick-off fundraiser, 
TESTIMONY!, scheduled for General Synod 2013, begins a 
major campaign to raise $1 million for church planting and 
renewal across the UCC. Two ministers from the Southeast 
Conference will be part of the plenary: Rev. Susannah 
Davis, pastor of Kirkwood UCC, and Rev. Cindy Andews- 
Looper, pastor of Holy Trinity Community Church. 
Additionally, Rev. Elizabeth Clement will be one of the 
leaders of the campaign. At Synod's fund raiser luncheon, 
Rev. Dwight Andrews, pastor of First Congregational UCC in 
Atlanta, will be directing the music. It is good to have such 
broad SEC leadership as part of this campaign at General 
Synod. Read more here. 

Renewing Pastors! 

The Fund for Theological Education is sponsoring the 
College of Local Pastors a grant program for clergy 
renewal. They offer up to $10,000 to cohorts of four to six 
clergy to find their own refreshment and reinvigoration. 
They are seeking ministers from the Southeast Conference 
to participate. The deadline for the next round is May 15. To 
find out more about this exciting program click here. 

Dynamic Adult Education Resource 

The Christian Century has recommended The Present Word 
the top selling adult education curriculum from UCC 
Resources. For more information click here. 

Landmark Cultural Photographic Exhibit and 
Documentary Screening in Birmingham 

The photographic exhibit "BESA, Muslims Who Saved Jews 
in World War II," is coming to Birmingham, March 5 - June 
30 in the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. In addition, a 
free screening of the documentary "BESA, the Promise" will 
be shown on April 18. BESA is an Albanian word meaning 
"faith" or "word of honor". An article about this event can 
be found here . 

Immigration Issues Event 

Lutheran Services of Georgia is inviting all SEC 
congregations to "When Strangers Become Neighbors" 

a program on immigration issues from a faith perspective 
on April 6. Southeastern Synod Bishop Julian Gordy is one 
of the main speakers. More information can be found here. 



Mission 4/1 EARTH 

We begin Mission 4/1 Earth this coming Monday! This 
initiative, which spans the 50 days of Pentecost, hopes to 
accomplish more than 1 million hours of engaged earth 
care, 100,000 tree plantings across the globe, and 
100,000 advocacy letters written and sent on 
environmental concerns. 

Kirkwood UCC was highlighted in this month's KYP 
(Keeping You Posted) for their pledge of 500 hours of 
earth care, planting 50 trees and writing 50 letters over 
the course of the 50 day event. Those are goals set by 



AROUND rbe CONFERENCE 



News from Our Local Churches 



Holy Trinity Building Expansion 




Holy Trinity Community UCC, Nashville, having successfully 
completed a capital campaign for $1.7 million, and broken 
ground for a new worship space that will more than double 
their capacity, is looking forward to dedicating their 
sanctuary in October, 2013. Rev. Tim Downs recently visited 
the building site and captured this photo of their expansion 
progress. Rev. Cindy Andrews-Looper reports that the new 
sanctuary will be able to accommodate their vibrantly 
growing congregation of more than 350 members. 

Rev. Tim Downs Preaches at UCC Pensacola 

United Church of Christ Pensacola, established in December 
2012, is worshipping with 60 members, and welcomed 
Conference Minister Tim Downs as their preacher on March 
3rd. 

UCC Awards Grant to Fuller Center Legacy Build 

UCCs National Disaster Ministries has awarded a $25,000 
grant to the Fuller Center which will bring more than 200 
volunteers to Atlantic City at the end of April in response 
to devastation in the wake of superstorm Sandy. Kirk 
Lyman-Barner, director of US Field Operations for the Fuller 
Center and member of the Southeast Conference and his 
team has been instrumental in putting together this event. 
He is also laying the groundwork for starting a new UCC 
congregation - Praxis UCC in Americus. 




Dear Friends, 






As we approach Easter Sunday, my mind 

turns to the wonderful proclamation, "O 

death, where is your victory? Death where is 

your sting? Thanks be to God who gives us 

victory through our Sovereign Jesus Christ!" 

We are a people who celebrate the ways in 

which God moves through and in us to be 

signs of God's life and hope through our 

churches and in our world. As I continue my journey among you, I 

am deeply grateful for the ways in which we have partnered to be 

signs of God's life affirming and life giving power. 



MM 



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Rev. Susannah Davis's congregation of 80-100 
members. You can see more of that story by clicking 
here. 



There are lots of great resources on the national UCC 
website including sermon seeds, liturgical materials, and 
a live counter to log planted trees, hours volunteered, 
and letters written. 

Do you have stories that you want to share about the 
work you're doing with Mission 4/1 Earth? Write the 
Conference and let us know. 



UNITED CHURCH 

OF CHRIST 





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Invitation to Mission 4/1 Earth from the United 
Church of Christ 



Generosity Corner 

Transform Your Life-Transform the World 
Here's How.. .Apply Now 




JiaGsfGjml.'jg (hurckei ■ TianformioQ live* 

SOUTHEAST CQNf tut Htt 
UtJiriD CHUJtfH Of CUBIST 

Transforming Churches-Transforming Lives, the 
Conference's Capital Campaign, is developing a 
strategic plan for funding the first programs in 
accordance with the Campaign's highest priorities. 
The campaign's pledged monies are $614,000 to 
date. Please contact Debbie Spearman, Generosity 
Coordinator, if you would like to discuss a program or 
initiative from your church that needs funding. 

Trend spotting: Mobile payments 

About half of adults in the US own a smartphone and 
a whopping 28% of Americans use a mobile device as 



Two weeks ago I was invited to lead a closing worship moment with 
my colleagues in the Council of Conference Ministers. This was the 
last time I would be with them before my retirement. 

I began by sharing that when I began in conference ministry I was 
invited to offer a reflection to the Council of Conference Ministers. 
I had put together an altar on which I had arranged symbols of the 
Southeast Conference and its legacy. There was a red altar cloth, 
symbolizing the blood of the martyrs, black and white who had 
given their lives to build the 500 schools and 200 churches to serve 
the recently emancipated slaves. These schools were built and 
staffed largely by women who wanted to make the same sacrifice 
on behalf of "truth and light" that their brothers had made on the 
battlefields of the Civil War for freedom. Many of them did make 
those sacrifices in full. There was a cotton plant heavy with bolls 
which I had uprooted on an Alabama roadside, representing the 
sweat and labor of slaves, and later of tenant farmers, both black 
and white. There was a copy of a letter written by the deacons of 
First Congregational Church, Atlanta, to President Woodrow Wilson 
in 1913 urging him to support federal anti-lynching legislation, 
which he did not, symbolizing our long history of advocacy on 
behalf of the marginalized and disenfranchised. I ended the 
introduction to this altar by saying that while it might appear to be 
a lonely ministry to be called to serve in the South on behalf of the 
United Church of Christ, I have never felt alone because I, and we 
as a conference, have been surrounded by supporters and 
colleagues who share our call to be signs of God's triumph over 
death and despair. 

I have never felt alone in this ministry. Of course I have had "the 
light of God's divine promises to comfort me". But also I, and we 
together, have been surrounded by a network of covenants that 
have bound us as a conference with other conferences and with the 
national setting of the church. I have served with an exceptional 
staff over these 17 years, and colleagues in local churches across 
the conference who love the UCC as fiercely as I do. Other 
conferences have been generous with financial support, prayers, 
and presence. The national setting has provided us tremendous 
support financially and other resources that have been essential to 
our growth and vitality. I took time in the meeting to thank national 
staff and my colleagues for all that they have given to us. 

I reminded my colleagues in conference ministry that they as I are 
involved daily in ministries that are literally making the difference 
between life and death. I told the story of attending a new church 
start that was LGBTQ and African-American early in my ministry 
here. A young man stood up during the opening testimony, and 
said through his tears; "thank you for building a church which is 
the first one in which I have worshipped and have not been called 
names from the pulpit." That man's testimony has been with me 
each step of my journey with you reminding me that we have a 
ministry together that makes a life and death difference in the lives 
of so many. 

I celebrated that we are a united/uniting church, one in which we 
understand that the unity we know in Christ is greater than any of 
those things that divide us. While some think of inclusivity or unity 
as always leaning to the left in the United Church of Christ, I note 
that unity and inclusivity form a 360 degree circle. Thus my 
greatest sadness in my time in the Southeast was the effective loss 
of the East Alabama-West Georgia Association following General 
Synod in 2005. With the exit of most of their churches, we lost 
friends and colleagues who had through the years been close to me 
and to many of us. At our best we are a people who make clear 
that the table is a table for all. 

We are an Easter people, who know that "death will have no 
dominion" and that "there is nothing that can separate us from 
Christ Jesus our Lord". I believe that this spirit is embedded in our 
history, in our ministry today, and in our future. 



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their primary way to access the Internet. So, for a 
church looking to reach out to more donors, a 
mobile option makes a lot of sense. 



Peace, 
Tim Downs 



<&&L Forward this issue 

Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ 



TRANS 

CHURCHES, 

TRANSFOfiWltt 

LlVES ^w^.. 

Southeast Conference 

U NfTED CHURCH of CHFIST 





s o 1/ r m * ji « r ft. ■ 




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